Today is August 12. My Grandma's birthday. She would have been 86.
She's been gone for six years now. Some days it seems longer than that. Other days it still doesn't feel real.
Not many people know this story:
On my 22nd birthday, my grandma gave me a birthday card. I was expecting the usual inside: $20.
Not this time.
She wrote me a cheque for $300.
I had just graduated, had little-to-no money, and was moving to Toronto for a job that started at just $11 an hour. She thought it would help.
With that money, I could afford to sign a lease.
A few years later, months after my grandma died, my mom divided up some of her portion of the estate among her kids.
That cheque helped keep me afloat during my first year of freelancing.
It wasn't much by some people's standards — maybe the equivalent of a few months' rent at my tiny apartment — but I finally had the courage to quit my job and call myself a writer.
I made $14,000 that year. Grandma's money kept me from going into debt.
Every time I look back at my life in Toronto, the way my career's evolved, and how this city has become so important to me, I think of her.
I literally could not have done it without her.
On days like today, I wish I could tell her that.